Filling out the college application is a challenging task, we know. We’re asking you to condense your 16-18 years of life experiences, accomplishments, values, hopes and dreams into approximately 8-15 pages of an application. You may have certificates and newspaper articles and research papers and more evidence of your awesomeness that doesn’t neatly fit into the Common App. You may have a slew of stories and anecdotes you want to share but not enough space. So you want to send us more. We get it.
But I’m here to write that if you fill out the application thoughtfully and thoroughly, we probably have everything we need. This is one small part selfish (saving my inbox from tons and tons of extra emails) and hopefully one large part helpful (helping you craft the most compelling application possible!).
Let’s take a look at how you can make the most of each section of the application.
1. Activities List
a. Simply put, this section is here for you to tell us how you spend your time. Excluding sleeping and going to school, what activities fill your time? We’re not looking for anything specifically here (I promise we don’t have a cheat sheet of which activities are better than others!). We just want to know how you spend your time. Sports? Music lessons? Family responsibilities? Working a job? Commuting 1 hour each way to school? Reading? Student government? List it all!
b. For each activity you list, tell us what exactly you’re doing, the impact you’re making, and don’t be afraid to write in your own voice. This isn’t a professional resume—you’ll have plenty time during and after college to perfect one of those. It’s much more fun to read “ice cream sundae extraordinaire” when referring to your summer job at Dairy Queen than “employee.”
2. Personal Statement
a. This is a chance to share a meaningful story/experience/identity that has made you who you are. A blank page can be intimidating to just start writing, so take some time to brainstorm what is important to share. Brainstorm stories/experiences/identities that matter to you—list them all out on a piece of paper!—and take a look at what commonalities or themes emerge between them.
b. Write in your authentic voice! Yes, you want a few extra sets of eyes on the piece to find that errant comma or double ‘the’, but don’t let someone edit out your unique voice. This should sound like you. The best essays I’ve read make me feel like I’ve just heard you tell me a story in person.
c. And don’t feel like the personal statement has to cover everything! You’ll have more opportunities to share parts of yourself through the supplement.
a. I’ve written extensively on the supplement in another blog, but the supplement is the space where you can convey why Tufts would be a great fit for you! What about your interests and personality really matches with the Tufts offerings and vibe? Share what draws you to the place and it’ll give us a great sense of how you’ll contribute to and grow in this wonderful community!
b. In our second question, you can share a) something that really excites you, b) something you’ve created/built/invented or c) your story. These are opportunities to hit on experiences or projects that haven’t been covered elsewhere in the application.
And finally….if there is still something that is missing from your application that feels vital for us to get to know you, you have….
4. Additional information
a. Is there something else you need to explain? Something that hasn’t come up yet in other parts of the application? List it here! I’ve seen plenty of Additional Information sections in which applicants write a few sentences about experiences/awards/activities that didn’t neatly fit anywhere else. Or perhaps there’s a bump in your transcript that you want to explain to give us some context. This is your chance to give last bits of information for us to better understand you.
So are you still tempted to email us more information? Hopefully less so! Hopefully in reading this, you see just how much you can really share in your college application. We end up with loads of information about your interests, academics, and family information, so we feel fully prepared to make our decisions with the completed application.
If you still want to send in more information, check out this handy flowchart we developed here in the Admissions Office!